The internet, it seems, is made of pets doing silly things, and people doing silly things for their pets. Dogs painting is a neat trick that we all love to see, or making art in other ways. But if a dog can be an artist, can they appreciate art? Should we try to allow them to, whether we know they can or not?
Jessica Dawson, an art critic formerly of the Washington Post, is organizing the world’s first art exhibit specifically for our canine friends, to happen this summer along Brookfield Place I Manhattan. The exhibit, curated by Dawson, Mica Scalin, and Arts Brookfield, will be titled dOGUMENTA.
While Dawson knows many will find the idea entirely frivolous, it doesn’t bother her. It’s meant to be humorous and somewhat satirical. But it’s also meant to be sentimental, a show of solidarity with man’s best friend.
Dawson attributes the idea to having been inspired heavily by her own dog, Rocky, a little yorkie-Maltese mix she found in a shelter. She claims that he got very excited at the idea of including the street-front galleries of Chelsea on their regular walks. In February, at a lecture she gave in Brooklyn titled “Five Things My Dog Taught Me About Art,” she pitched the idea to a pack of artists and curators.
The premise that she pitched, which would become dOGUMENTA, was this: If canines can teach us so much about human creativity, what if they had a show of their own? How would artists respond to this massive new audience?
dOGUMENTA, which will begin in August 2017, will take place at prime dog-walking hours (8am-8pm, with a gap from 1-4 when the pavement is too hot for bare paws) with the installations all being at doggie-eye-level. It will include ten works by New York artists.